- a group of people related by blood or marriage.
You’re never too old or too young to enjoy Africa. But to ensure a harmonious family trip you need to make the right choices – that’s where we can help. We have first-hand experience travelling with our families in Africa and beyond, from tiny tots to teens and multi-generational journeys, so we know what makes a family holiday a success.
Our top picks for a first-time family safari would be Kenya or South Africa - see below for some more pointers!
There are a few family safari ideas listed on this page but please do get in touch to discuss your ideas - every holiday we book is unique - it's all about getting the right balance for you rather than suggesting a carbon-copy trip.
You may be interested in our blog: realafrica.co.uk/blog/family-safari-holidays/
South Africa & Namibia
Whatever the age of your children you can't go far wrong with South Africa – as well as offering malaria free reserves, there’s no significant time change to worry about, there are regular direct flights, and you have the option to self-drive and self-cater if you want to, which ensures maximum flexibility and is particularly appealing to families with younger children. There are many good hotels and guesthouses, fabulous safari camps/lodges and you can often enjoy pools and other facilities. South Africa also offers superb value, with around 18 Rand to the Pound (based on April 2019). Add to this the chance to see the 'Big Five'(lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard) alongside the 'Marine Big Five' (whales, penguins, seals, dolphins and sharks) and you have a destination that will provide a lifetime of very special memories. We love to combine a safari in Greater Kruger (or malaria-free Madikwe) with the beaches of Mauritius or Mozambique, or with Cape Town and the Garden Route. Alternatively you can easily spend a fortnight in the Cape, enjoying marine life and the Big Five on safari. The Cape is optimum October to April. Kruger is at its best May to October so whatever the school holiday there is always somewhere in South Africa that suits!
In Namibia you can also self-drive although drives tend to be longer (4-6 hours) because of the geography of the country and as such we think it is better suited to older children/teens. Namibia is more about dramatic landscapes and culture although there is still plenty for families to enjoy with epic wildlife in Etosha, marine life at the coast, sand dunes and canyons to explore.
East Africa - Kenya and Tanzania
Kenya is an outstanding choice - relatively compact (for Africa) it is easy to get to with an 8 hour direct flight from the UK and offers diverse landscapes, warm hospitality and a fabulous density and diversity of wildlife. Kenya excels when it comes to conservation and you can enjoy behind-the-scenes conservation visits from walking with the anti-poaching dog squads to visiting an elephant rehabilitation and release centre. You can choose to fly-in or drive-in (private vehicles and driver/guides available) - with children we prefer to maximise time on safari and to fly-in but the choice is yours. A combination of the Masai Mara and the coast is an absolute classic. The wilds of Laikipia is another excellent destination worth consideration. We work with several camps/lodges offering excellent family tents/rooms. A fully staffed beach house (villa) is a fun option at the coast.
In Tanzania, there are many iconic destinations for you to visit. The Northern Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Manyara, Tarangire) lends itself to discovery on one of our private drive-in safaris - your family travels in their own 4x4 safari vehicle with a driver/guide. The Spice Islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia offer the perfect extension to a safari.
As your children grow, you can be even more adventurous with your activities – teenage children love the chance to try out a safari by mokoro, a traditional dug-out canoe, or to experience the suspense of a night drive in private concessions. Tracking, with a expert guide, is also possible and a great activity for older children. Being older and more independent means you have more choice when selecting lodges and camps too – you might consider splitting the family up across two tents rather than all sharing one family tent or room for example. Both Ker & Downey Camps and Desert & Delta Camps, among others, offer family friendly units where you can be accommodated together if you like. Victoria Falls makes an excellent extension to a safari in Botswana.
Zambia in another good option for families seeking something a bit unusual. We have a selection of private safari houses for exclusive use. These are ideal for friends travelling together (two families) or an extended family group and they combine wonderfully with an extension to Victoria Falls with all its exciting excursions or to Lake Malawi for beach time and watersports.
Victoria Falls is a fabulous family stopover with boat trips, helicopter flights and ziplining among the many activities on offer. We like to combine Victoria Falls with a safari in Hwange - Hwange can be reached by road in about 3 hours and offers sensational game viewing. Chobe in Botswana can also be reached by road very easily from Victoria Falls - combining all 3 destinations makes for a wonderful family trip. It is also possible to fly between safari destinations, depending on your budget. Lake Kariba and Mana Pools are other incredibly exciting options.
If you are travelling to Africa as a family, chances are, you will be restricted by school/college holiday dates. So, in order to find availability at the most suitable camps and lodges, we recommend booking well ahead of departure. Many of our preferred camps are very small and some may only have one family room or unit. Booking early also helps to secure best-value when it comes to international flights.
An exciting family holiday combining Moremi and the Okavango staying at Desert & Delta camps
A classic and good value private drive-in safari exploring the northern circuit including Tarangire, the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater
A self drive tour along the stunning Garden Route including Cape Town, the Winelands and a malaria free safari
An extended family holiday combining a safari in the world famous Masai Mara at Karen Blixen Camp with a beach house stay at Waterlovers at Diani Beach in Kenya
A great value all inclusive fly-in holiday in Kenya combining a safari at riverside Karen Blixen Tented Camp in the Mara with a week at Pinewood on the Indian Ocean coast.
Perfect for those with young families this safari and beach holiday offers spectacular game viewing, the chance to meet elephants, rhino and giraffe up close and plenty of time to enjoy the beach at the end